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USC recognized for community service

By Megan Sexton, msexton@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-5400

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, USC graduate student Matt Lindenberg and his staff of 20 resident mentors from Columbia Hall formed an assembly line at Harvest Hope Food Bank, filling boxes with canned fruits and vegetables, sugar, flour and other traditional holiday foods.

Their group wasn’t alone.

In 2011, 694 University of South Carolina students, faculty and staff gave nearly 2,000 hours of their time to help the hungry.

Working with the Harvest Hope Food Bank, they sponsored food drives, collected 17,000 pounds of food, sorted locally grown produce, packed boxes of food and raised $21,000 for the nonprofit regional food distribution center. Students and professors also analyzed data on clients, agencies and donors and then created maps showing areas of greatest need and spots to find potential donors. USC students also assembled recipes and filled recipe boxes to help clients learn new ways to use foods they weren’t accustomed to preparing.

Through it all, they touched the lives of those in need in the Midlands area of South Carolina.

That commitment earned USC a 2011 United Way of the Midlands Community Impact Award. The awards are given to a person or group that demonstrats a commitment to volunteering and makes an impact to causes, programs or projects that support human service needs in the Midlands.

Lindenberg, a Rochester, N.Y., native who is pursuing his master’s in higher education student affairs, said students appreciate the chance to help their community.

“We are so blessed to be part of that population that has the chance to receive a higher education. Students get more by taking a step back and reflecting about what they did for their community,” Lindenberg said. “And it raises awareness of issues in the area. The fact we packed that many boxes was eye-opening for students, who were able to see how much assistance is really needed.”

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USC service award

  • What: USC awarded the 2011 Community Impact Award by the United Way of the Midlands
  • Winners: This year’s community impact award winners are: USC, nominated by Harvest Hope; Sarah Moran, nominated by Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands; I AM WOMAN Community Health Workers, nominated by Columbia Urban League; and The Dickerson Center for Children Fun(d)raisers, nominated by The Dickerson Center for Children.
  • When: Thursday (April 19)

By the numbers

In 2011 at Harvest Hope Food Bank:

  • 694 USC students, faculty and staff volunteered
  • 1,994 hours donated
  • 20 departments, classes and clubs from USC volunteered
  • 17,000 pounds of food collected

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